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Today in Tech: Oracle Makes a Partial Win Against Google


If the next part of the trial goes in Oracle's favor, the cost of building software might go sky-high. If carriers get their way, so will the the price tag on the iPhone.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The jury delivered its decision yesterday and determined that Google (GOOG) did infringe on Oracle's (ORCL) intellectual property when building the Android operating system. However, the jury couldn't decide whether Google's use of those 37 APIs can be considered fair use.

Google's lawyers are calling for a mistrial because the jury can't decide, and the two parties have until May 10 to present arguments on this issue.

Though they sort of won, this isn't exactly a victory for Oracle. Oracle was originally seeking $1 billion, but the most that they will get out of Google now is in the low six figures. The jury only found Google guilty for copying one Java method -- just nine lines of code.

The issue of whether those APIs can be protected by copyright is still undecided. The software industry is still closely watching this. APIs essentially let programs talk to each other. For example, when you tweet your picture with Instagram, you are using Twitter's API. Software companies use APIs every day under the assumption that nobody needs permission to use it. If Oracle wins this, the industry can be burdened with licensing fees, legal trouble, and time spent coding around copyrights.

Apple (AAPL) shares are off more than 1% today, and it is possible that this can partly be tied to reports that wireless carriers like Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) are trying to take their margins back from phone makers. The carriers are starting to raise the fees that customers pay to upgrade phones as they try to get Apple and other smartphone makers to let them roll back subsidies. In Apple's last earnings call, CEO Tim Cook downplayed carriers concerns, essentially saying that carriers will suffer if they don't offer subsidized iPhones. Carriers typically pay full price for the iPhone and sell the phone with a plan at a loss of about $400. In Europe, Vodaphone (VOD) and Telefonica (TEF) are no longer subsidizing new customers.

Mark Zuckerberg might have showed up to New York in a hoodie to market Facebook's IPO to institutional investors, but analysts are turning bullish on the stock. Sterne Agee and two other firms initiated coverage on Facebook as a buy.

"Facebook has 48% of the worldwide Internet population, and they have half a percent of the advertising market worldwide," said Sterne's Arvind Bhatia. "We think they have a significant runway ahead of them."

After taking on the book publishing and general retail industries by storm, Amazon (AMZN) is now taking on fashion and apparel. Amazon is offering free returns and free shipping to market fashion goods on the site. They are even going as far as hiring three women full time to try on shoes for their reviews sections.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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